HGTV star Tarek El Moussa didn’t reveal until this year the whole story behind his 2013 cancer battle.
Followers of his show, “Flip or Flop,” already knew the story of how one fan, a registered nurse, emailed the show’s producers after noticing a lump on his neck. He went to the doctor and learned he had thyroid cancer.
But El Moussa did not reveal until February that he was also diagnosed with testicular cancer.
“Getting the thyroid cancer was hard enough, and then a few weeks later, learning I had testicular cancer, I literally thought I was gonna die,” Tarek said on the “Today” show.
“I just didn’t want to come out with it. It was more of a personal thing.”
In March he posted a photo to Instagram taken while he was sick and described how the last three years “were the hardest of my life.”
“I thought I would share this with everyone ... to truly understand how absolutely sick I was,” he wrote. “Look at this photo and look at my eyes, I was a skeleton. This took a major toll on my physical and mental health. I know many of my fans have had similar struggles and can relate.”
This week El Moussa shared even more intimate details about how testicular cancer changed his life at the not-so-gentle-prodding of Bravo personality Andy Cohen.
On Wednesday El Moussa was a guest on Cohen’s SiriusXM show, “Radio Andy.” When they started talking about testicular cancer Cohen flat-out asked whether El Moussa had a testicle removed.
“Yes I did,” El Moussa whispered.
Then, in a louder voice, he joked: “At least my friends call me ‘The One Nut Wonder’ now, so, I mean, I have a good nickname.”
Cohen persisted, asking if doctors “put, like, a fake ball in.”
El Moussa made a crack about the size and said, “it’s like an implant. I can’t tell the difference.”
El Moussa, who is divorcing his wife and “Flip or Flop” co-star, Christina, said he doesn’t hide the intimate detail from women he dates.
“I tell them anyways ... because I’m pretty much an open book,” he said.
He told Entertainment Tonight he decided to reveal he had testicular cancer because his stepfather was diagnosed with it, too.
“For me, the main reason I’m coming out is to create awareness,” he said. “I know that when I came out with thyroid cancer, a lot of people found out they also had thyroid cancer. So, I feel it’s something I had to do.”